21 Ways To Stay Positive In A Relentlessly Negative World

Stay Positive - Woman

I used to wonder how it comes about that the electron is negative…I thought about this for a long time and at last all I could think was ‘It won the fight!’ – Albert Einstein

It’s impossible, isn’t it?

Sometimes the air itself seems charged with negativity.

Prophets of doom fill the air-and cyber-waves with relentlessly depressing news feeds before you’ve even stumbled out of bed or shaken the sleep from your eyes.

Negative co-workers, bosses, and even friends, make staying positive during the day a Herculean task.

And when you’ve battled through the rush hour traffic to get home at night, sometimes even your nearest and dearest unwittingly add to the relentless negativity.

Indeed, sometimes it seems the world’s sole purpose is to drag you down to their cynical, depressed level.

Staying positive in such a relentlessly negative environment can seem impossible.

I felt the same for years. Then I noticed there were people who seemed immune to all this negativity. People who carried on smiling and high-fiving regardless of those prophets of doom around them.

But even though I tried so hard that I ground the enamel off my teeth, negative people and events knocked my positivity to the bottom of the well every time.

And rather than inspiring me, those same highly positive people depressed me. How could they be immune to the relentless negativity of this world? I mean, are some people just born positive?

Because that just isn’t fair, right?  And as I found, it’s also untrue.

Excluding a few freaks who burst out of the womb dragging a positivity blanket with them wherever they go, people aren’t born positive.  Science has shown, we are actually born with a negativity bias.

Why? maybe for survival the theory goes. But whatever the reason, the result is negative events, memories and even words have a stronger emotional effect on us than positive ones. These same negative thoughts and events happen to all of us.

But positive people choose to react differently.

And you can too.

And despite what you may have read in a hundred well-meaning but misleading articles, it doesn’t involve a lobotomy or re-incarnation.

So if you’re:

  • going through a rough patch
  • looking how to be more upbeat and positive in life or
  • your day’s just turned to sh*t and you need some inspiration

Here’s how highly positive people stay so positive…

1. They think negatively.

Positive people are affected by negativity around them in just the same way as you – remember the negativity bias? They too feel down, lose their way and start thinking bleak thoughts.

But they have learned to recognize this negativity bias and distrust it. They realize that where it may have served them back in pre-historic days, it actually works against them in today’s world where a positive, can-do attitude is everything.

2. They accept the world is negative.

Einstein is far from alone in seeing the physical world as more negative than positive. And positive people realize you’ve got to fight for your right to be positive.

But unlike our hapless electron in the quote at the top of this article, persistently positive people have no intention of loosing that fight.

3. They wake up feeling negative.

When you’re asleep it’s doubly difficult to control your thoughts. And just like you, positive people have no guarantees that they’ll always wake up feeling positive.

But they have learned to make themselves a positive morning routine to counteract this less than positive start to the day.

4. They have bad hair days.

No one is immune from one of those days when no matter what you do, you just look ghastly! Feeling upbeat then seems doubly difficult.

Persistently positive people are equally afflicted but they overpower those negative feelings with a physical trick – they put on their most positive outfit that fits best and has the ‘best label’. Hey, positive people can be fashion conscious as well:)

5. They can be lazy.

We’re always told that idleness breeds negativity, but so does too much busyness – oh boy! Staying upbeat or optimistic when you’re over-tired or overwhelmed is near impossible.

Positive people don’t even try to make that work. Instead, they take breaks, short or long if need, and recharge their energy to reignite their positivity.

6. They aren’t always grateful.

You’d love to slam the door quick each time a negative events tries to shoulder it’s way into your life. Persistently positive people are just the same – they wish they had a magic force field to ward off unhappy times.

So they do what we all do –  wish it wasn’t so, ask why me? and whine. But once they’ve got it out of their system, they regroup and find what they can be grateful for.

7. They bellyache.

Positivity is a precious commodity. And to allow some negative ninny to barge into your day and mess it all up for you, well, that’s unacceptable. And denying angry feelings doesn’t make for more positivity either.

So positive people complain and bellyache about those doom mongers. But they’ll do it quietly and to themselves because anything else would be adding, not subtracting, to the world’s negativity.

8. They are definitely deluded.

Ever wondered if positive thinking is just self delusion? Truth is, there is little logical reason to choose to think positively. But positive people know that negative thinking really messes up their happiness. Expecting the worst, dwelling on something miserable, even being critical of someone else – none of these lead to feeling joyous or wanting to leap at life.

That’s why positive people are happy to be deluded. And they know that being persistently positive is a difficult state to maintain for sure. But they also know that being persistently negative may be easier, but it’s a damn sight less fun.

9. They feel sad, disappointed and angry.

It can seem on the surface that persistently positive people don’t suffer any negative emotions. But that’s not the case at all. They feel sad and disappointed when things don’t work out, just the same as you.

But they’ve decided that optimistic and upbeat is where they want to be. So they dig in and look for any positive action they can take that will lift their spirits. And in the meantime, they try not to spread their unhappiness around.

10. They sometimes look for the bad in situations.

So this sounds counter-intuitive, even contradictory. Positive people are supposed to look for the good in everything, surely? Not always. Seeing the positive in a situation sometimes calls for looking for a greater negative first.

Taking a 2,000 year old Stoic trick they measure their misfortune against how much worse it could have been first. The truth is, things are rarely as bad as the worst case scenario. So comparing them to this seeming negative, actually allows them to pull a positive out of the bag.

11. They sometimes don’t look for the good or bad.

We’re told from childhood that things are either good or bad. Well, persistently positive people know that doesn’t have to be the case. Things can be neither, they can just be.

By accepting events as they unfold and flow forwards, you can learn to struggle less and chill more. Rather than obsessing about the outcome, they enjoy the ride.

12. They sometimes don’t even find the positive in a situation.

Hey, just like you, positive people don’t find a silver lining in every cloud, far from it. They may believe that every cloud has a silver lining, but that doesn’t guarantee they’ll find it.

But rather than letting themselves sink into negativity, they look around at all the positives they can find in other areas of their life. By seeing all those other positives sparkling like so may stars in a dark sky, it allows them to still feel positive about their overall situation in life.

13. They aren’t always loyal.

Relationships can be tricky, can’t they? And positive people are usually thought to be the most loyal and steadfast in relationships.

However, they are also often the first to pull the plug on any that aren’t positive or healthy. They know that it’s usually best for both partners. And when they have found the right relationship, then they are as loyal as can be.

14. They may see the glass as half empty.

You try and focus on what you have, not what what’s lacking but sometimes that’s hard to do. Positive people can absolutely struggle with this too.

But they also know that whether the glass is half empty or half full, it’s still plenty for their needs. And anyway, to a positive mind, the glass can always be refilled.

15. They put themselves first.

Being selfish is a bad thing, right? You should always help others if you can.  And obviously positive people agree. They also know however that means helping themselves first.

They put their needs first because they know that to truly support others, they need to be positive themselves first. After all, if you try to help someone when you’re feeling down, you’re in danger of drowning both yourself and the person you were trying to help in a sea of negativity. Outside of math books, two negatives never make a positive.

16. They don’t always leap to solve problems.

Surely being positive equals being solution orientated, jumping straight in to solve any problem? Not necessarily. Positive people don’t ignore problems because they’re fearful of the outcome like someone with a pessimistic outlook, but they don’t rush in either.

Instead, they take a good look first to check the situation is actually a problem. They ask themselves ‘Could this be an opportunity? A chance for something better?’ And they also know that if you leave a problem alone, it very often goes away of it’s own accord.

17. They dwell on the past.

Being mindful and present is important to staying positive, sure. But like you, positive people’s thoughts stray and get caught up in the past. Heck, they even dwell on the past on purpose. By reliving positive memories, upbeat people can bolster their mood whatever the situation.

And negative memories? Oh, those they treat differently: they look for lessons they can learn and apply to the future without getting caught up in guilt or regret about the past.

18. They spend time on social media.

Well, it’s where everyone’s at, right? Like you, positive people need to connect too. But they’re oh-so careful about where they hang out. And who they connect with. In fact, positive people are ruthless about it.

They know the power of hanging out with other positive people and the dangers of mixing with negative ones. They’re highly aware that social media gossiping, comparing themselves to others, even reading negative stories and comments are positivity assassins!

19. They watch and listen to those prophets of doom.

Positive people don’t live in a vacuum. They  want to stay on top of what’s going on in the world, the same as you and I. And the reality is, many if not most media has a negativity bias deeper than the Grand Canyon.

Luckily, positive people are acutely aware when reporting goes overboard and starts layering on unnecessary drama or misery. That’s when they hit the ‘off’ button instantly.

20. They are stubborn.

Because you’re a good and decent person, you always aim to be flexible and  accommodating. Persistently positive people are just the same… unless their positivity is under threat and then, oh they’re more stubborn than any donkey has ever been.

They’re dogged, adamant, even immovable – nothing is going to mar or wreck their upbeat mood. And of course, the opposite is true – they will bend over backwards to help out any person or venture that will spread positivity and smiles around.

21. They compare themselves to others.

Our universal self-assessment tool is drawing a comparison with others. Everyone does, it’s near to impossible not too. But positive people only compare themselves to positive role models. And only ones they can emulate.

And rather than getting downhearted about the gap between where they’d like to be and where they are, they get going with that upbeat, can-do attitude and make it happen.

Join The Ranks Of The Persistently Positive

You can’t stop the negative ninnies of this world.

The prophets of doom will still spew their toxic negativity into the world.

But you can change yourself.

You can join the ranks of the persistently positive and the entrance fee is less than you thought.

You don’t have to be re-incarnated, or have a lobotomy – although both would help:)

You just need to decide that you want to be the positive person you were born to be.

So go win the fight.

And prove Einstein wrong.

About the Author: 

Laura Tong believes another habit of highly positive people is learning to say no to negative people or requests. Download Laura’s free cheat sheet: 5 Guilt-Free Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict)

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{ 28 Comments }

  1. mark j jones says:

    acceptence and surrender to what is, and realize those thing we can’t change

    • Laura says:

      Thank you for adding your positive thoughts Mark – you’re right acceptance is a fabulous tool in our positivity tool box.
      Have a fabulously positive rest of the week.

  2. Hi Laura,

    Very practical topic !

    External situations are always there to blame on our state of mind. But accepting the situation by giving positive perspective will always help us to maintain calm and positive state of mind​. These external negative situations are an exercise for our mind to​ learn to be stable internally .

    I do remember a quote from scripture “Bhagavad Gita”,which always helps me to come out of negativity​ and helps me to develop faith that IT IS FOR MY BEST,this has happen in my life to learn and grow.

    “Whatever happened was good
    Whatever is happening is good
    Whatever will happen will also be good
    What of yours has gone to make you cry ?
    What did you bring with you that you have lost ?
    What did you create which is now destroyed ?
    What you have taken you have taken only from here.
    What was given was given only from here.
    What is yours today, was someone else’s yesterday, will be someone else’s tomorrow.

    Change is the law of the the universe​”
    Jagriti Aanand´s last blog post ..Subtle experiment – Are tattoos good for us?

    • Rahul Yadav says:

      Indeed true and stands true in every situation.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Jagriti, thank you for adding such an interesting and memorable perspective on how we can look at events we didn’t choose positively. Change is such a consistent part of life, seeing it as a positive by finding where it gives us an opportunity to move on, to grow, to learn, to refresh, even to become something we may not have dreamed possible – that’s soon going to be far more welcome. I love the thoughts you’ve added to this discussion, thank you.

  3. Stefany says:

    Wow, such an honest piece of writing. Showing that positive people are not robots with a constant smile on their face as if they don’t have the same feelings and emotions as others.

    No this article proves that being positive has nothing to do with that. Positive people feel anger, pain ,get jealous too. but the difference is how the positive people react to it.

    You can’t change the world but you can change yourself and change always starts with you.
    Stefany´s last blog post ..30 Life Changing Lessons To Learn From Gretchen Rubin’s BookThe Happiness Project

    • Laura says:

      It’s always such a treat to have your input in our discussions Stefany. I love the power of the simplicity in your final line: we can’t the world but we can change ourselves… Let’s all agree to be human along the way shall we? I honestly believe people struggle and fail to be positive because they think ‘positive people’ are like the robots you describe. Hey, we’re all in this wonderful world together, and oh boy, are we all wonderfully human too.

  4. Kim Orr says:

    Thanks Laura, for your insights into the fact that positive people are human — so they engage in the human things we all engage in. But their outlook is rooted in the ground of positive perspective.

    And thanks also for making it clear that positivity is a practice — and one we can all engage in.

    • Laura says:

      Hi Kim, lovely to have your wonderful wisdom included in this study of positivity. That’s a great description you’ve given ‘their outlook is rooted in the ground of positive perspective’ – it’s absolutely that.

  5. William says:

    I used to have a negative outlook on life, I could relate to a lot of these while reading. When I got sober, I realized I had to change my outlook on life because my negative thinking would always bring me back to drugs. Having a positive outlook has helped me become happier and healthier.

  6. matata mercy says:

    Nice article i enjoyed the encouragement
    Thanks
    hallbrain.blogspot.com

  7. krystie says:

    Thanks for this interesting post Laura.Its good to know you are volunteering yourself in keeping people motivated , even one of friend from “http://garagegymplanner.com/” has written an article on how to live life happily and keep mind & body healthy “http://garagegymplanner.com/happy-and-healthy/” hope even you find this useful.

    Keep posting such great posts!
    Cheers! 🙂

  8. krystie says:

    Thanks for this interesting post Laura.Its good to know you are volunteering yourself in keeping people motivated , even one of my friend from http://garagegymplanner.com/ has written an article on how to live life happily and keep mind & body healthy http://garagegymplanner.com/happy-and-healthy/ hope even you find this useful.

    Keep posting such great posts!
    Cheers! 🙂

  9. Johnny says:

    Hey Laura,

    Awesome articles! I love reading articles like these, I have spend a few years around negative people and had a hard time getting up in the morning and going to work since I knew there would not be a positive moment during the day. But now I have quit and everything is MUCH better already.

    I have started to write a little bit myself, will soon be comming up with a article telling more about my struggle on http://datingpilot.dk

    • Laura Tomg says:

      Hi Johnny
      Thanks for your wonderful comments. We can all be a little negative at times, but people who are constantly negative are quite draining:) So glad things are better for you

  10. Its informative i like it. It’s a good article. Its more attractive and effective for people.

  11. bharat says:

    we should over best
    bharat´s last blog post ..Punjab State Weekly Lottery Result 25-10-2016

  12. Larry Lewis says:

    Great post! Alas I’m sure many people will find that they are often overcome by negativity. As your list shows, even positive people are going to be impacted by negative events and thoughts, but they simply respond to them in a positive way. They’re going to have problems but focus on finding solutions. It is not what happens but how we react that makes the difference.

  13. F.P. says:

    Good post, it can definitely be hard to stay positive some days but studies have shown that constant negativity is bad for your health, so there’s a practical reason to try and be more positive.

    Bottom line, it’s a mindset that we can control. Like the saying “is the glass half full or half empty” – both are true. The difference is how you choose to view it.
    F.P.´s last blog post ..Yamaha FG800 Acoustic Guitar Review – Domo Arigato for Great Value

  14. “can be” “maybe” is not the solution. people aren’t born positive, but we can change that situation.

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